A List of Environmental and Telecommunications Events and Issues

May 23 to May 30, 1997

Published, Edited and Written by George Mokray for
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

"A List..." is also a listserv. You can subscribe or unsubscribe by emailing a-list-request@world.std.com, leaving the Subject line blank, and typing "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" as the message.

Previous issues of "A List.." are available for your perusal at

If you are interested in keeping Internet an open and free forum, you might want to take a look at the Blue Ribbon Campaign


Saturday, May 24

Bicycle Tour of Orchards and Parks - Route (and pick-up points):
Hatch Shell 9:30 am; Arlington & Comm Ave 9:50 am; Willow Pond Ave & Jamaicaway (Daisy Field) 10:30 am. Ride ends at noon
Bill Taylor at 983-WIND or erthwrks@thecia.net

Container Loading at Bikes Not Bombs - Help send recycled bicycles to Central America
contact 442-0004
50 Armory St, Roxbury
Editorial Comment: Bikes Not Bombs has a planned container shipment for Haiti this weekend, but a planned donation of 50 bikes fell through and they are scrambling to try to fill the remaining container space. If anyone has old unwanted bikes cluttering up their basements, now is the time to free up space and get those bikes to people who need them. Bikes Not Bombs not only recycles and repairs donated bikes and ships them to third world countries where they are prized for transportation but they also have a inner city youth program where kids "earn a bike" by repairing the donated bikes for eventual shipment. If you have any donations, including bike parts such as frames, wheels, tires, brakes, etc or would like to help out their phone number is 617-442-0004, 50 Armory Street Roxbury.

10 am - 8 pm
MassGreens Annual Meeting
contact (508) 688-2068 , email massgreens@igc.apc.org or http://www.envirolink.org/orgs/massgreens
Camp Rotary, Boxford MA
sliding scale up to $50

Sunday, May 25

9:30 am - 8 pm
MassGreens Annual Meeting
contact (508) 688-2068 , email massgreens@igc.apc.org or http://www.envirolink.org/orgs/massgreens
Camp Rotary, Boxford MA
sliding scale up to $50

7 pm
Benefit Concert for Radio Free Allston - broadcasting Monday through Thursday, from 4 to 9 PM on 106.1 FM from Herrell's Cafe at the corner of Harvard and Brighton Aves
contact Steve Provizer at 562-0828 or Joy Campbell at 767-1183, improviz@gis.net or http://www.tiac.net/users/error/radiofreeallston/
The Paradise, 969 Comm Ave, Allston
admission is $7.50

Monday, May 26

8 am - 2 pm
MassGreens Annual Meeting
contact (508) 688-2068 , email massgreens@igc.apc.org or http://www.envirolink.org/orgs/massgreens
Camp Rotary, Boxford MA
sliding scale up to $50

Wednesday, May 28

12:10 pm
On the Role of Flux Adjustments in an Idealized Coupled Climate Model
Gus Fanning, MIT
MIT Building 54, Room 915

Thursday, May 29

12 pm - 1:30 pm
Women as Transformational Leaders Support Group
facilitated by Virginia Mary Swain
contact 225-0403 or imagine@world.std.com
The Center for Strategic Change, 10 Milk Street, Boston, Third Floor (at corner of Milk and State Streets)
$100/$25 materials, participation must be confirmed in advance

Friday, May 30

6 pm -7 pm
Women as Transformational Leaders Support Group
facilitated by Virginia Mary Swain
contact 225-0403 or imagine@world.std.com
The Center for Strategic Change, 49 Hancock St
$90/$25 materials, participation must be confirmed in advance

Saturday, May 31

Surfride at the Cape
Massachusetts Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation
contact 675-7774 or masssurf@aol.com

Volunteer work day at the Cambridge Sustainable House - the Boston Cares Servathon
contact 868-7788
136 Appleton St

9:30 am - 5 pm
Multilateral Agreement on Investment: Big Business Over the Rest of Us?
Pat Choate, Reform Party; Lori Wallach, Public Citizen; US Rep. John Tierney; Hilary French, Worldwatch; Thea Lee, AFL-CIO; Alan Tonelson, US Business and Industry Council; State Reps Jim Marzilli and Byron Rushing; Simon Billenness, Franklin Research and Development; Ronnie Dugger, Alliance for Democracy; and others contact 266-8697 or (508)872-6137
Boston College, Devlin Hall
Admission: $10/$8 preregister/$5 low income

Sources for Listings:
MIT _Tech Talk_ :
Harvard _Gazette_ :
Harvard Environmental Resources On-Line:
MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs calendar:
Earth Day Network international/national listings:
Earth Day Greater Boston calendar:

act-ma the Massachusetts activists mailing list:
subscribe by emailing majordomo@igc.apc.org, leaving the subject line blank and typing "subscribe act-ma" as the message

Peace and Justice Events Hotline at (617)787-6809

Table of Contents

S.687 - Electric Restructuring Bill

Editorial Comment: I grabbed this piece of information from the alt.energy.renewable newsgroup where Tom Gray (tomgray@igc.org) of Wind Energy Weekly put it up. It's a press release from Natural Resources Defense Council in support of Senator Jeffords' bill. It is not the only electric utility restructuring bill in Congress but it may be the best we can expect from this particular group of legislators.

The Natural Resources Defense Council today praised Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT) for introduction of legislation that promotes alternative energy and clean air in the process of deregulating the electric power sector. The Electric System Public Benefits Protection Act of 1997 builds upon other comprehensive electric restructuring proposals and works to maintain and increase investments in clean energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

"This legislation will protect and promote the public interest at a time of profound change in the electricity industry," said Daniel A. Lashof, Senior Scientist at NRDC. "Senator Jeffords' legislation lays the foundation for clean competition in an industry that for too long has imposed excess costs on the country, both economically and environmentally."

Last week NRDC, Public Service Electric and Gas and the Mid-Atlantic Energy Project of Pace University released Benchmarking Air Emissions of Electric Utility Generators in the Eastern United States (http://www.nrdc.org/nrdcpro), which clearly demonstrates the environmental damage and competitive distortions created by the patchwork of unequal and inadequate standards that currently apply to electric power plants. The legislation being introduced by Senator Jeffords contains four key provisions that NRDC believes must form the cornerstone of any plan to restructure the electricity industry. The following four provisions would end the environmental subsidies that currently favor generation by dirty, mostly older coal-fired power plants that damage the health of our children while they contribute to changing the climate of the entire planet:

1) Emission standards
Full and fair competition can only become a reality if disparities in environmental standards based on power plant age, fuel type, and location are eliminated, with power plant emissions capped at sustainable levels. By reducing and capping emissions of NOX, SOX, and CO2 and allocating allowances under this cap based on electricity generation, this legislation would eliminate existing environmental subsidies and take emission differentials out of the competitive equation.

2) National Electric System Benefits Fund
By providing incentives for states to continue or expand energy efficiency, low income service, research and development, and other programs that are in the public interest, this legislation would ensure that the electricity industry continues to provide public benefits, such as the $2 billion in net savings achieved by energy efficiency programs to date in California alone.

3) Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard
By ensuring an orderly expansion of the share of electricity derived from renewable energy sources, this legislation would place the electricity industry on a path to a truly sustainable future.

4) Consumer information disclosure
By providing consumers with critical information on the generation portfolio and emissions characteristics of the electricity they buy, this legislation establishes one of the critical prerequisites for any efficient market.

"NRDC strongly supports full and fair competition in the electricity industry," said Lashof. "We are convinced that the provisions of the Jeffords Bill are integral and essential feature of the ground rules for clean competition. We look forward to working with Senator Jeffords to enact this critical legislation."

Editorial Comment: NRDC's Benchmarking Air Emissions of Electric Utility Generators in the Eastern United States (http://www.nrdc.org/nrdcpro) should be a very useful tool for researching where your energy comes from. DOE's The Annual Energy Outlook is available on the Web at http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo97/homepage.html and might also be a good tool to research your energy lifeline.

How much of your electricity comes from coal, oil, gas, nuclear, or solar?

Table of Contents

Who Owns the River?

Editorial Comment: Ambrose Spencer asked Hervey C. Scudder (windrush@together.net) to send this to me. One result of utility deregulation may be an internationalization of resources that will make responsible use and local control harder and harder to attain. You might want to go to Boston College on May 31 (see Listings) for their discussion of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and what it means for your economic future.

Strategic Environmental and Economic Opportunity for New England

As you know, the New England Power Company (NEPCO) has put its system of hydro electric dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers up for sale. Since these plants have been owned by NEPCO for almost ninety years, this is an historic event. Furthermore, this transfer of ownership has major economic and environmental implications for the New Hampshire and Vermont communities in the watershed. With ownership of these dams will go possession of the operating licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). These licenses give the holders authority to manage the water flow for decades and can significantly reduce the ability of local authorities to protect their own interests in this resource.

In addition to having little control over an essential natural resource, out-of-state ownership of hydro generation can also deprive local communities of the economic benefits earned from power production. It has been estimated that even in a deregulated energy market the hydro system on the upper Connecticut River will earn a profit in the $5 to $10,000,000 range. A private for-profit owner will have the prerogative of taking this money out of the local economy.

Another economic loss to some municipalities is the expected reduction in tax revenues from the hydro plants. New owners will be in a position to justify substantially reduced property assessments. The result in at least a few towns will be hundreds of thousands of dollars less in tax revenues. For small towns this will be devastating.

Although this a very brief summary of the potential implications in the new ownership of the NEPCO dams, the largest source of green power in New England, it should be clear that they are important to the states and communities in the watershed. After investigating this situation, NECSIS has concluded that it actually represents an opportunity to gain local control over an essential natural resource and keep the economic benefits of energy production in the local economy. This could be done through a cooperative or other form of non-profit which would hold the licenses and manage the generating facilities in the public interest. NECSIS has researched what needs be done and has identified all the legal, operating and investment resources required to accomplish this. We have also been assured by experienced professionals in these fields that given adequate support, it is realistic to expect that many millions of dollars could be generated and reinvested in the communities residing in the watershed while maintaining control over an essential part of the regional environment.

The process of selling the dams is, of course, already underway. One part of this is the FERC procedure for approving the transfer of the licenses involved. A crucial date on that procedural schedule is May 23, 1997 when intervenor direct testimony has to be filed. We have been advised by the Natural Heritage Institute (NHI) which has extensive experience in hydro relicensing that we need to apply for intervenor status immediately. At the same time, NHI recommends that NECSIS invite the respective states to also apply as intervenors to protect further the public interest and bolster its own efforts..

It is the position of NECSIS that we must mount an effort to intervene before May 23 or risk losing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a sustainable future for the communities in the upper Connecticut River watershed. If you have questions or want to know more about how to participate in this process, please call Hervey Scudder at 802-254-3645.

P.O. Box 158, Brattleboro, VT 05302
tel: 802-254-3645 fax: 802-254-8116

The following is a draft of a proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the states of New Hampshire and Vermont and representatives from the communities on the reach of the Deerfield River in Massachusetts regarding the future of shared natural resources. Please consider this your invitation to make suggestions to improve it.

Memorandum of Understanding
This MOU has arisen out of an awareness of common interests in the future of the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers by the states and communities in their watersheds. In the fall of 1996 the New England Electric System announced the sale of its generating business including the system of New England Power Company (NEPCO) dams on the these rivers. This transfer of ownership has enormous implications for both the environment and the economic future of the watershed. In order to meet their responsibilities for the protection of the an essential natural resource and secure the economic welfare of the region, the parties to this MOU believe it will provide a basis for policy making and collective action in the public interest.

Environmental protection
Authority to use a water resource for energy production is granted with a license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Since the existing licenses reflect an emphasis on power production, they effectively reduce the latitude for making other uses of the water by local interests. New owners will essentially inherit these rights when they purchase the NEPCO hydro system. Furthermore, new owners will be operating these facilities in a competitive, deregulated environment which will put them under pressure to maximize power production regardless of its environmental impact. There is even the possibility that, if the new owner is an off-shore energy transnational firm, he or she could under the Multilateral Investment Agreement appeal to the World Trade Organization for relief from local, state and national regulations which inhibit profitable operation of the hydro system. Under these circumstances there would be virtually no protection for the economic ! or environmental interests of the watershed.

Comparative Economic DisAdvantage
One of the major justifications for moving toward an unregulated global economy is the expectation that it will create benefits through the spontaneous application of the principle of comparative economic advantage. This concept assumes that each region has the ability to maximize the potential of its particular economic advantage. In the case of the upper Connecticut River this would mean that the region is able to develop the potential of such a major natural resource as water for its own benefit. However, beginning in 1909, the hydroelectric potential of this river system has been developed for the economic benefit of a region nearly one hundred miles from the watershed. One consequence is that as the need for electrical power grew in the region of the NEPCO, these business and communities had to purchase power at much higher costs from either distant suppliers or from high cost nuclear generators. If these generating plants become the property of an out-of-state or for! eign owner, this will perpetuate the economic disadvantage which has depressed the local economies in the region.

Energy Security
Knowledgeable observers have expressed what appears to be well founded concern about the reliability of the electric distribution system after deregulation. This raises the possibility of more frequent and longer power outages in the future. It would be catastrophic if businesses and homes in New Hampshire and Vermont were without power for several hours during periods of extreme cold. We have already seen widespread and prolonged outages in the Northwest and some may remember that our region suffered such an outage in 1965. With new, unregulated ownership of the hydro system comes the risk that the power generated with water from our region might not be available to us in an emergency.

Loss of tax revenues
For many of the towns were dams are located the tax revenue collected from hydro generation are a major source income for local government. Under new ownership it is anticipated that these revenues will be drastically reduced, in one case from the current $2,500,000 a year to perhaps under $1,000,000. This precipitous drop could have catastrophic effect on local economies; increased local taxes, lower property values, etc.

Distributive Generation
One of the forward thinking concepts in power production which is gaining acceptance is distributive generation. Under this approach energy production is sited as close as possible to the load which it is intended to serve. Most of the energy production from the NEPCO plants is put onto the transmission grid for export to distant locations. This arrangement requires maintaining a transmission system which adds to the cost of the delivered power. It also reduces the overall reliability of the system because it increases the likelihood of outages. Furthermore, transmission losses over long distances reduce the amount of energy available for beneficial uses. Applying the distributive generation concept to the hydro generated by the NEPCO would mean dispatching to the load nearest the generators in the interests of reliability, greater efficiency and lower cost.

Protection from monopolies
Much of the justification for the deregulation of electric generation is the expectation that it will increase competition giving customers more choices and lower rates. Given that New England imports such a high percentage of its energy, our region is actually vulnerable to the just the opposite outcome. There is already substantial evidence to support the possibility that, over time, Hydro Quebec will become the dominant supplier of natural gas and electricity to New England and New York. This is easy to imagine since our existing nuclear generators will be decommissioned over the next twenty years with no creditable replacements on the horizon. By retaining control over energy production from indigenous resources, the region could give itself some protection from dependence on energy monopolies.

Economic development
While loss of control over its energy resources would put the region at an economic disadvantage, retaining it would be a major contributor toward economic development on a sustainable basis. Independent experts have estimated that operating the NEPCO system on a non-profit basis could yield a profit of $5 to $10,000,000 annually for investment in the local infrastructure. Were this investment to be targeted to progressive, cost effective generation technologies, it could reduce dependence on imported sources, improve system reliability and efficiency and put the regional economy on a more sustainable basis. One model for this is the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA)* in Texas which has essentially protected that region's economy and environment for the past sixty years.

The sale of the NEPCO dams presents the states and communities in the watershed with a rare opportunity to create a sustainable future. This could happen if the dams and their FERC licenses were in the possession of a regional non-profit organization similar to the LCRA which is dedicated to protecting the environment of the watershed while working with the communities in it to build a strong, self-reliant economy. The Connecticut River Energy Corporation, a non-profit organization, has researched how the NEPCO generating system could be restored to local control and operated for the economic benefit of the region. The governance of this organization is such that the signers of this MOU believe it will operate in the public interest and offers the most effective way to protect a priceless natural resource from exploitation by other interests. Our vision is a public-private partnership which can deliver benefits which government and the private sector cannot do alone.

Action needed
To carry out the purpose of this MOU which is to protect the interests of the states and communities involved will require action. The following are proposed for considerations by the signers of the MOU.

1. The states and the CREC need to create a coordinating mechanism to ensure that appropriate actions are taken and the partnership works effectively. This might involve conference calls, meetings and other exchanges through the business of the partnership can be conducted.

2. It will be essential for the states to step forward as intervenors in the FERC procedure regarding the New England Power Company. That process is now under way and intervenors must fill direct testimony by May 23, 1997. This is an obvious immediate priority. One objective of this intervention is to create a situation favorable to the acquisition of the system by the CREC in the public interest.

3. The CREC is operating on a volunteer basis with a very modest budget. In order to proceed with carrying out its part of the partnership, CREC will need substantial funding for legal, technical and other professional work. The public partners can be of assistance in raising funds from federal sources, foundations and other NGOs which see merit in this effort. Knowledgeable individuals in both the environmental and energy fields see this effort as being on the cutting edge and could serve as a model for other initiatives related to deregulation.

Next steps
1. To turn this MOU into a truly effective basis for cooperation and action, it will be essential to reflect the reactions and suggestions of all parties which might become signatories. Your reactions are important to our success and you can make them by calling Hervey Scudder at 802-254-3645 or faxing your edited copy of this draft to 802-254-8116.

2. It is essential to meeting the objectives of the MOU that the partners prepare to intervene before FERC. CREC has already presented the situation to the Natural Heritage Institute, a non-profit with extensive experience in hydroelectric licensing and they can assist us. At this point in the process it would helpful to identify an individual with states of NH and VT who can coordinate any intended intervention.

3. In order for the CREC to emerge as a realistic buyer for the NEPCO dams, it will be essential to raise enough funds for the initial legal and other professional work. Based on what we have been told by the various resources we have approached, we have arrived at a budget of $50,000. Part of this funding will also be applied toward the raising of the larger sum needed for such longer range efforts as writing a business, raising the capital necessary to acquire the dams, etc.

P.O. Box 158, Brattleboro, VT 05302
tel: 802-254-3645 fax: 802-254-8116

Editorial Comment: Ann Stewart (Stewartship@compuserve.com) who keeps an ever-watchful eye on Hydro Quebec and Canada sent me an article from Toronto about the president of Ontario's Power Workers Union, John Murphy, proposing to link the three provincially owned utilities in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec to create a gigantic "Hydro Canada" that would become "the dominant utility in North America for decades to come."

Murphy said, "Provincial boundaries will be meaningless in a competitive electricity industry, just as state and national boundaries will be. It's time to get bigger, not smaller... These three Hydro systems together would be an unstoppable Northern powerhouse. It's an exciting idea, one that would be great for Canada."

Table of Contents

Tour de Sol Update

Editorial Comment: Karl Thedemann (KTHIDEMANN@aol.com) sent me this 1997 NESEA American Tour de Sol Update (http://www.crest.org/clients/nesea/rally.html).

According to unofficial reports received from team members today, a Solectria Force NiMH electric sedan equipped with Ovonic Nickel Metal Hydride batteries yesterday (Wednesday, May 21st) broke the NESEA range record for production electric vehicles by completing 249 miles on one charge during the third day of racing in the 1997 NESEA American Tour de Sol. The existing record of 244 miles was set by a Solectria Force NiMH during last year's running of this annual national electric vehicle championship. Ford reportedly covered 202.3 miles on one charge and Toyota managed 116.5 miles during the day's event. A Solectria Force entered by Connecticut Rideshare/NAVC equipped with lead acid batteries travelled 104.1 miles.

Yesterday's performance means that Solectria has held onto and widened its first place lead over rivals Ford and Toyota since the road rally began earlier this week. Total distance traveled by the top three vehicles during the first three days of the race are as follows: Solectria Force NiMH - 481 miles; Ford Ecostar - 430 miles; Toyota RAV4-EV - 322 miles, Solectria Force lead acid - 310 miles.

Today's activities include a Mount Washington Hill Climb. The winning vehicles from the NESEA Tour are expected to cross the finish line in Portland, Maine at about 11:30 tomorrow (Friday) morning. Vehicles competing in the NESEA Tour will be on display in Portland tomorrow afternoon and during the day on Saturday.

Editorial Comment: Richard Duncan (duncanrc@halcyon.com) of the Institute on Energy and Man does energy forecasting, updating and expanding the methods of M. King Hubbert. His latest work shows that world petroleum production will peak around 2005 and that Muslim nations will dominate world oil production by 1999. Looks like things will be changing faster than we think and SolElectria (http://www.solectria.com) will have to speed up its production schedule.

Table of Contents

Eco-Impact Software

Editorial Comment: This information comes from the Sustainable Business Journal (http://www.envirolink.org/sbn/newresources.html) which links to "A List..." and republishes my articles from time to time. Thank you very much. The original source of the information is from EdoNews (http://www.islandnet.com/~gdauncey/econews/) which I read every month and republish from. I wonder how I missed this piece of news.

Dutch consultants PRE have just released 'Eco-it', a simple user-friendly program which allows a company to assess the ecological impact of its products including the production, consumer and disposal phases. The program works with a database of over 100 eco-indicators which were developed as part of a Dutch government project, and enable a product developer to carry out an environmental analysis of any product in a matter of minutes. It costs $200, and a demo can be downloaded from their website at http://www.pre.nl/simapro.html.

Editorial Comment: PRE also produces SimaPro "the world's most widely used LCA [lifecycle assessment] software" and a demo version can be dowloaded from http://www.pre.nl

Table of Contents

Sustainable Software from CREST

Editorial Comment: Even on vacation, Tom Spriggs (mtspriggs@igc.org) still sends in good stuff.

CREST is proud to announce the release of two software products and a new online forum for sustainable energy software. SolarSizer 1.0 and The Sun's Joules 1.5 are now shipping. CREST also has a new Internet site for sustainable energy software and a mailing list specifically for those interested in discussing current and future CREST software. For more information on all of the items mentioned here, visit Software Central: http://solstice.crest.org/software-central/

SolarSizer version 1.0
SolarSizer is a sophisticated software program for designing residential photovoltaic systems. Developed by CREST staff members Eric Woods and Christopher Gronbeck, the program guides the user through the process of sizing a solar power system using built-in or user-defined components. The user selects the location, appliance load, solar panels, wiring, and other components by dragging them into a "house". SolarSizer then calculates the energy and economic performance of the system based on the installed system.

SolarSizer was developed in a partnership with Solar Energy International, and sells for US $125. A free demonstration version is available for downloading at Software Central (http://solstice.crest.org/software-central/). For orders, visit http://solstice.crest.org/orders

The Sun's Joules Version 1.5
A new release of CREST's popular renewable energy and environmental education CD-ROM is now available. The Sun's Joules was designed for middle school and high school students but can be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages. The upgrade contains a completely re-designed interface, updated and new content, videos, and interactive exercises. It also comes bundled with the most recent version of The School Energy Doctor, all on the same CD! The new Joules/Energy Doctor CD will sell for US $30. Current owners of The Sun's Joules version 1.0 can upgrade for $10 (for details, visit the upgrade information page at http://solstice.crest.org/orders/upgrades.html). For orders, visit http://solstice.crest.org/orders

Sustainable Energy Software Central
Sustainable Energy Software Central is CREST's new forum for showcasing CREST software, providing technical support, showcasing other sustainable energy software, and linking developers and interested users together to better meet the needs of those creating and using sustainable energy software. The best way to learn about Software Central is to visit it:


Here you will find a complete listing of current CREST software, including:
- descriptions and screen shots of all software titles
- links to demonstration versions which are either online or free to download
- technical support questions, answers, and contact information
- pricing and ordering information
- updates and upgrade information where needed

You will also find a listing of other sustainble energy software and resources, including:
- links to descriptions and downloads of other software
- links to resources useful for sustainable energy software developers and users

Those who are interested in developing sustainable energy software and those who would like to help guide current and future software directions at CREST should look at the two new forums, the Developers' Forum and CRESTSoft-L.

The Developer' Forum is being created to allow those who design sustainable energy software to easily communicate with each other. This discussion will enable the sharing of design ideas, market issues, design tools, and other matters of concern to developers.

CRESTSoft-L is open to anyone who has an interest in discussing CREST software products. Topics that will be encouraged are:
- ideas for improving CREST software
- ideas for new software development
- feedback to CREST staff on problems with current software
- discussion of ways to use CREST software effectively
- any other topic related to CREST software development
- members of the mailing list will be allowed to beta test new

Table of Contents

Alternative Energy Database

Editorial Comment: I found this piece of information in the alt.energy.renewable newgroup.

See the Alt Energy Database Intro page and Meta Links for Alt Energy and Environmental sites @


Tom Rentz trentz@u.washington.edu

Table of Contents

National Library on the Environment

Editorial Comment: Libraries for the Future (lff@lff.org) sent this to me. _Newsweek_ this week says that there is now a central governmental clearinghouse for health information (http://www.healthfinder.gov). Why not one for environmental information?

To: Libraries for the Future's
National Library Advocates Network
From: Sarah Feldstein, Field Coordinator
Date: May 21, 1997


Access to environmental information is critical to successful environmental work. With three easy clicks, you can help ensure that a National Library for the Environment (NLE) is created to increase the ability of local libraries to provide environmental information to library users around the country and for the public to access this information directly.

Send the message copied below as soon as possible (or at at least by July 31st) to Dr. John H. Gibbons, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (and be sure to cc: sarahf@lff.org). Gibbon's office helps set the President's policies, including the use of the Internet for communicating science information. He is a strategic link to making the NLE a reality.

Sample Text:
To: Dr. John H. Gibbons
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Recent advances in information technology now make it possible to provide the nation with access to the environmental information that is critical to making effective decisions. I urge you to aid in the creation of a National Library for the Environment as a part of a National Institute for the Environment. Rather than a maze of agencies, the United States needs one place to get credible, timely information on environmental issues.


Don't forget to include your postal address in your

Join the Committee for the National Institute on the Environment, which is spearheading this campaign (cnie@cnie.org, 202-530-5810, 1725 K St., NW Suite 212, Washington, DC 20006, http://www.cnie.org).

Spread the word about the National Library on the Environment. If you have access to a newsletter, write an article or a letter to the editor. Place an LFF ad slick discussing the NLE and announcing the free resource called The Environmentalist's Guide to the Public Library in your organization's newsletter or a community newspaper.

Please read the Action Alert below to learn more about this policy. Your action is urgently needed to influence this policy decision now! Call us at our toll free number (800-542-1918) or send us email (sarahf@lff.org) and let us know how you participated in this Action Alert and in what ways you would like our assistance in your local advocacy efforts. As a Network, it is important for us to share these advocacy stories. Join us as we create a national rapid response network of library advocates who stand up for libraries everyday, not just when there is a crisis!

For more information about how to use your public library to access environmental information, order from LFF a free copy of the updated 1997 version of The Environmentalist's Guide to the Public Library. Contact Sarah Feldstein at sarahf@lff.org or by calling 800-542-1918.

Libraries for the Future's Advocacy Taskforce
Members: Cynthia Lopez, Advocacy Director; Sarah
Feldstein, Field Coordinator; Jamie McClelland,
Technology and Information Policy Specialist

Where can we turn for credible environmental information? The answer is confusing. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a patchwork of 20 other agencies conduct important research, yet there is no single point of access to get this information.

The Committee for the National Institute for the Environment (CNIE) has proposed the establishment of an independent, non-regulatory, federal science institute called the National Institute for the Environment (NIE). The NIE will improve the scientific basis for making environmental decisions. A key component of the Institute will be the National Library for the Environment (NLE), which will provide a single point of access to the wealth of the nation's, and the world's, environmental information. The NLE's services will include a communications network to deliver environmental data that is both accessible and comprehensive; a single entry point to retrieve this data from all agencies and sources; models for managing and using environmental information; and funding for organizations that conduct environmental research. For more information, contact CNIE (cnie@cnie.org, 202-530-5810, 1725 K St., NW Suite 212, Washington, DC 20006, http://www.cnie.org).

Dr. John H. Gibbons
Old Executive Office Building
17th St. & Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20502
202-456-6021 fax

Libraries for the Future
tel: (212) 352-2330
(800) 542-1918
fax: (212) 352-2342
email: lff@lff.org
121 W. 27th Street, Suite 1102
New York, NY 10001

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Yet Another Definition of Sustainability

Editorial Comment: On May 2, I videotaped the last Boston Area Solar Energy Association lecture of this season (copies of the tape are available from me for $15 each). Barbara Bannon-Harwood talked about "The Healing House" and is about to publish a book with the same title. She builds energy efficient low-income houses in the Southwestern USA and, by the evidence of her presentation, does a very good job of it. In the course of her talk, she produced just about the best written definition of sustainability that I've seen so far. Of course, sustainability or restoration is best defined through action.

"Sustainability is the re-establishment of natural systems for our living environment in which humans are integrated and non-disruptive, and which, therefore, are beneficial to both the natural habitat and its life systems and to humans and their habitat."

Editorial Comment: Nearly twenty years ago, when I was part of a traveling energy show, I had a bumpersticker made. It said, "Expand the Biosphere." We sold maybe three of them.

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The Begging Bowl

My admission of a personal power shortage last week resulted in more response than I've ever received before. I'm still tired but heartened by the feedback. It is helping me define what the use is in "A List..."

Jennifer Hill (JMHILL926@aol.com) wrote:
I'm struck by your emphasis on new ideas. Why are new ideas better? What about putting into practice ideas that have been identified as useful/good? Some of those ideas are very, very old but certainly no less true. But with all the extra data floating around us, those ideas of implementation can be lost.

I would like to suggest that if you go to meetings and hear stuff you already know you are in fact up to speed on the great quantity of information out there. That is a good thing. Next step is putting it (define it as what moves you) into practice. I have a quote by Karl Lewin (sp?, father of organizational psychology) that says - "If you truly want to understand something, try to change it." That is the collary to the Margaret Mead statement about a small group of dedicated people changing the world, in fact it is the only thing. Those facts are both good and true.

Practice has been the next step for me anyway. I've found that I am motivated by knowing that I am making a difference in some way everyday. Counting the little steps can be very worthwhile.

Today I got a check and a note from Rosalie Anders
I have been meaning to mail this check and I guess your comment that you feel as if you've heard most of the ideas - or at least many of them - already - resonates with me. I think the ideas that I am most eager to year and discuss are about _how_ to begin to shift our culture's direction. _How_ do individuals change? _How_ do groups change? _How_ do we change a value system?

Both Jennifer and Rosalie go right to the point. The new thing I have been looking for is how to present the reality of these ideas we have heard over and over again so that they can be seen as practical, practicable, and ready for practice. So far, I feel that I have been an abject failure at it. I have tried to convince two different landlords, both "community development corporations" supposedly devoted to low income affordable housing, to use the south-facing porches where I live as solar porches to reduce our energy bills. Both times, I was met with sketicism if not derision. I no longer have the heart to take out my solar models for public display knowing that I would meet people with anger and impatience after twenty years of trying to show the simplicity of solar. I watch the news and see that there is such resistance to any slightly different way of thinking and that the resistance is only growing stronger. I sit and read and write, freed by failure, a hermit wrapped in words, trying to rearrange them on the page and the screen so that the old truths catch new light. Thanks for reading my "flawed words and stubborn sounds."

Any comment, criticism, information or monetary remuneration is most gratefully appreciated.

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George Mokray
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

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